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Carlos Izcaray
Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Music Director Designate
Carlos Izcaray is the newly appointed Music Director Designate of the Alabama
Symphony Orchestra. Praised by the international press, he won top prizes at the
2007 Aspen Music Festival and later at the 2008 Toscanini International
Conducting Competition. Since then he has led numerous ensembles in the United
States, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal,
Macedonia, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela.
In 2012 he conducted the Latin American premiere of Henri Dutilleux’s
masterpiece Métaboles, and throughout his career he has shown special interest
and prowess in tackling some of the most complex scores in the symphonic
repertoire. Izcaray has also premiered - and in some cases commissioned - a great
number of instrumental, choral and operatic works by composers worldwide. He is
a regular guest at the Wexford Festival Opera, one of today’s leading stage for
rarely performed and contemporary repertoire. His 2010 production of Saverio
Mercadante’s Virginia won the Best Opera prize at the Irish Theatre Awards,
immediately followed by another nomination for his 2011 production of La Cour
de Célimène, by Ambroise Thomas. He is equally distinguished as a passionate
performer of the standard repertoire. His performances of Carmen at Opera
Theatre of St. Louis earned him rave reviews from the North American Press.
Recently, he has led ensembles such as the St. Louis Symphony, Alabama
Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Malmö
Symfoniorkester, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Filarmonica
Arturo Toscanini, Orchestra Regionale dell’Emilia-Romagna, Orchestre de
Chambre de Lausanne, Macedonian Philharmonic, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra,
National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Filarmónica Joven de Colombia,
Bahia Symphony Orchestra, Cambridge University Music Society, Salta
Symphony Orchestra, Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica
Municipal de Caracas, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Venezuela, and many
other ensembles from the orchestra network known as El Sistema. His
performances have aired at the BBC, NPR, RTE, RTVE, EBU, and other main
network, reaching millions of listeners across the globe. Current and future
engagements include return performances with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra,
Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, the
Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, plus debuts with the Orchester der Komischen
Oper Berlin, Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles with Utah Opera, Donizetti’s Lucia di
Lammermoor at the Alejandro Granda International Opera Festival in Peru,
Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires with Opera Bangkok, as well as concerts at
Cambridge University, where he has also taught conducting workshops.
A distinguished instrumentalist, Izcaray was featured as concert soloist worldwide,
and he served as Principal Cello and Artistic President of the Venezuela Symphony
Orchestra prior to engaging fully on a podium career. His musical philosophy is
clearly rooted in chamber music, having studied in depth with members of the
legendary LaSalle, Vermeer, Borodin, Tokyo, Takács, Orion, Emerson,
Penderecki, Carmina, Colorado, Fine Arts, Miami, and Cleveland string quartets.
During his student years, he won the Kuttner Prize, the top chamber music award
at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Increasingly active as a composer,
Izcaray’s most recent orchestral piece, Cota Mil, was premiered by the Orquesta
Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas.
Based in Berlin, Carlos Izcaray was born in Caracas into a family of several artistic
generations. A representative of the new Venezuelan musical generation, at age 3
he was enrolled in Venezuela’s public system of youth orchestras, continuing later
from age 7 at the Emil Friedman Conservatory, one of the few schools in the world
that promotes music as the root and essence of education. There, he was a boy
chorister as well as an instrumentalist. He studied conducting with his father since
he was a teenager, and went on to become a distinguished fellow at the American
Academy of Conducting at Aspen. His teachers include Maestro David Zinman,
Patrick Summers, Eduardo Díazmuñoz, Lajos Zeke, Frank Cooper, and Emile
Naumoff. He is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, New World School
of the Arts, and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. For three years,
Izcaray was Conductor of the Mozarteum-Caracas Chamber Orchestra.